The year is quickly winding down. Next week we will bring you a look ahead at what we anticipate will be in store for the world's financial markets in 2018.
This week, however, we wanted to take time to look back at 2017 from a global perspective. Many publications are reviewing the big news stories of this year, so we looked for some news and numbers you might not have heard much about in 2017.
- First up: The direction of the U.S. dollar. Since President Trump was inaugurated, the dollar is off by over 7 percent on a trade-weighted basis, after having risen by over 5 percent during the period between the 2016 election and the inauguration.
- The Mexican peso: It has gained over 13 percent in value against the dollar since the inauguration and is almost the biggest gainer of the year among semi-major currencies. This despite NAFTA talks that have been difficult and many observers speculating about whether the trade agreement will even still exist by this time next year.
- South Korea: You might think, after all the nuclear missile tests and tense verbal exchanges between the president and North Korea's leader, that investor confidence in this region would be a bit shaken. But you'd be wrong - the South Korean won gained over 7 percent since the inauguration and the main Korean stock index – the KOSPI – is up 23 percent for the year!
Speaking of stock indices, the top major index is the Hang Seng in Hong Kong – which is up nearly 33 percent for the year. If you want some really eye-popping numbers, take a look at some emerging markets, like Kazakhstan. That country had an equity pop of 55 percent this year, but it got beat out by – of all places – Mongolia, where the stock index is up nearly 80 percent for the year.
Outside of the markets, there were other surprises in the numbers as well. Take baseball, for example. If you take all the divisional winners at the beginning of the MLB post-season this year, the Houston Astros had the lowest payroll of any of those teams. Yet, as we all remember, they won the World Series back on Nov. 1.
Staying with sports, for the first time a Canadian club – Toronto FC – won the major-league soccer cup. And in a unique turn of events, an expansion hockey team in Las Vegas – the Golden Knights, sponsored by City National Bank – is second in the Pacific Division behind the Kings of sunny L.A.
It has certainly been an interesting and eventful year from our Global Perspective. We look forward to being back next week to talk about what we see coming up on the world economic agenda in 2018.
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